I don’t remember what drove me to start a local music magazine in the early months of 2004, but something was driving me. Another local magazine had folded just recently, and I think I felt this town needed something mid-level underneath the bigger weeklies that were coming out.
While the music scene was humming along back then, it seems that right now it’s in overdrive. It’s nice to see at least a few of those acts back then, still playing today and some bigger than ever. Doomtree was a thing, but their official first release came out that same year.
Facebook wasn’t around yet; we were all still using Myspace, and that is how I notified people that I was doing a new magazine. I just checked Myspace and those accounts are still there.
The initial group of people were: Me (editor in chief), Chad Weis (ad sales), Kent Weis (writer), Nathan Roise (technology/web), Jessica Hampton (copy editor), LaVonne Meyer (reviews copy editor) and Steve Tenebrini (logo design, art direction). Tenebrini and his Squad19 crew helped with the art aspect of it. Nate Nolting did the layout of the first issue, and David Witt also known, as DWITT did the first cover design.
I financed it with the help of my bosses at Copycats Media, where I had my day job. Many people have contributed over the years; we had some extra help from my old co-worker Bryon Rogman, who was a great help in the middle of the magazines existence. We also had Josh Mohr on board who sold some ads for us.
We published 25 print issues; the initial ones had a glossy cover and then to save money we went to a standard cover and then eventually went to more of a newspaper style format.
We had some great people help out over the years; Christine Mlodzik was the copyeditor for a big chunk of issues. Emily Utne, who did an awesome job with art direction and now is at City Pages. Kevin Kinley who helped with design and layout, for awhile in the middle.
Then it went strictly to the internet, and it had some ups and downs. I even had sent out a press release one time, shutting it down. I had some other big ideas, but then I came back to Rift and got it rolling again.
So that brings to eleven years later, and it’s still rolling along and seeing a resurgence. With the help of Becky Marx and a small group of writers we have gathered more readers, and I think added some value to the local music and art scene.
No time like the present to re-do the website and see if it can last another eleven or more years. My main interest in this is to see if we can make it something that can generate enough to cover costs and pay the writers and artists who contribute. Plus it would be great to do another print issue if things all come together.